Among the new visitors coming to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles is M. Amanuensis Sharkchild, who can be found at www.sharkchild.com, naturally. We caught up with it to ask about their work and their interest in the Cthulhu Mythos:
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all
of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?
I began this venture of writing horror fiction just about seven years ago (hard to believe). I would write a short story, narrate it, and publish it through my podcast every two weeks. After a year had gone by, I realized I had enough stories to publish a book. Rather than going through the laborious process of finding an agent and publisher who would put out my work, I decided, without skipping a beat, to do it myself. And that is how The Dark Verse, Volume 1 came into existence.
Being an indie author/publisher is no easy task. I had great success selling my first book, but it was by no means volume-enough to make a living or enough to allow me to continue publishing books. Then I stumbled upon Kickstarter a few years back, which I realized was my gateway to continue doing what I love to do. I’m now three successful Kickstarter campaigns in, with two more Dark Verse books to show for it and a novel on the way!
The hardest thing to learn (and something I’m still learning) is how to manage my time now that I need to both create content and also take care of a business. At times, it gets exceedingly overwhelming. It is often strenuous now to attain the focus—among the myriad of items that must be checked off—needed to do the thing that this was all about in the first place: creating.
What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
My favorite Lovecraft story, hands down, is “The Outsider.” It’s simple, moving, and a story that I strangely find inspiring.
“I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.”
In a peculiar way, I strive to be just such an outsider—an innovator and creator outside the bounds of normal society.
What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most
unexpected surprise you've found when making these creations?
All three of The Dark Verse books are my favorite creations thus far. So much effort and passion, from my friend John F. Stifter (who does the artwork) and myself, have gone into these tomes. It is an epic feeling to hear how fond people are of them—their appearance, quality, and contents.
What’s the biggest challenge for artists interested in creating
a Lovecraftian work?
I can’t say I know the exact answer to this question, but it makes me chuckle a bit because it leads me think about the terrific rise of Lovecraft in popular culture. People create Lovecraft work that is serious, satirical, comical, and everywhere in between—from dark movies to alphabet books. This goes to show the versatility of what you can do with Lovecraft. There truly are no limits!
What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few
years? Where do you hope to go from here?
My eyes and imagination are set on creating a tabletop game. I already have one that I have designed that is close to completion and there is another I have been working on that would actually tie into The Dark Verse universe.
While I have been first and foremost an author, in the end I want my name to encompass much more than just books. I will continue to create and, hopefully, with enough support, I will one day be able to make a career of it!
Where else can we find you throughout the year?
I’ll be stationed up at certain conventions throughout the year in Los Angeles and Orange County, but my real home is online. If I release any new products, they’ll be released at www.sharkchild.com and I’m always posting content and interacting with people on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sharkchild). Lastly, I have a plethora of book giveaways at www.thedarkverse.com, as well as the releases of my new stories, when I get around to writing and narrating them.
This year’s theme is “Shadows Over Innsmouth.” Do you think this
story has had an influence on your work?
I’ve read it, but I honestly can’t remember much about that one (it was years ago)! So, if it has influenced me, it would be through subconscious traces lingering in my creative output. I need to hurry and give it another read!